“A name is who you are.”
Continuing from where the previous episode left off, episode 4 is yet another fantastic episode. We finally learn more about Lena’s character, and the reason why she is slightly different from the rest of her fellow Albas. Her history with her father speaks much about where and whom did she got her ideals, especially after experiencing a tragic incident that obviously still haunts her in the present.
But while Lena is treating the Eighty-Six differently, she is still very much an Alba deep inside, and it showed why she never bothered to ask the Spearhead Squadron about their real names. She may not do it intentionally, but she is doing it subconsciously, a fact that Annette tells her with brutal honesty. It is really interesting to note that someone who is as kind as Lena is really not as perfect as she looks, but her desire to change herself and repair her already strenuous relationship with the Spearhead Squadron makes an incredible and unique heroine, and a great character development.
Meanwhile, the Spearhead Squadron themselves get their own character development, particularly Theo, callsign Laughing Fox. While he is the most vocal in speaking against Lena’s hypocrisy, it is evident that he isn’t exactly hostile at the Handler. This stems from a rather shocking revelation: that his former commander is an Alba very much like Lena and her father in treating the 86, and who died in the war to save his squadron. Thus, Theo’s opinion of Lena is slightly less biased, though he still doesn’t approve of Albas in general.
On the other hand, the rest of the group has mixed feelings about their superior, especially Raiden(Wehrwolf) who considers Lena unfit to be their Handler. But while that may be the case, the majority views Lena as tolerable, and it is satisfying to see the two sides acknowledging one another with mutual respect.
Perhaps the most intriguing piece of backstory shown in this episode belongs to none other than Shin. The origin of his callsign alone is both grim and harrowing, but it explains a whole lot about his personality, behaviour, and the burden he carries on his shoulders. Still, an air of mystery surrounds him, especially with that final scene involving his brother.
Overall, episode 4 is as spectacular and gripping as the previous ones. Characters continue to grow in interesting ways, and all the backstories give better insight on their motivations and behaviour. While there are no fight scenes, the focus on the plot more than makes up for that.
Episode score: 9.5/10.